“Prince of Venice” food truck delivers fresh pasta with a royal touch

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Los Angeles food trucks are constantly one-upping each other with design and cuisine. But who can top fresh pasta brought to you by an Italian prince?

Los Angeles food trucks are constantly one-upping each other with design and cuisine. But who can top fresh pasta brought to you by an Italian prince?

Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia is the grandson of Umberto II, the last King of Italy. The country has been a republic since 1946, but di Savoia likes to have fun with his royal heritage.

“I think royalties are something that interest people. If you have it, why not use it?” he jokes.

Di Savoia was in exile until 2002 when he returned to Italy and won top prize in “Strictly Come Dancing,” an Italian version of “Dancing With the Stars.”

Now, has set his sights on conquering the food industry in Los Angeles, a city he calls “the mecca of food trucks.”

His new venture, alongside chef Mirko Paderno, is “Prince of Venice”: a bright blue truck, featuring the Savoia family crest atop an image of the City of Venice.

Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia (right) with the “Prince of Venice” team. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Unlike most food trucks, Prince of Venice does not have a narrow window you must peek through to place orders; rather, the entire front is a large, glass window.

“I began designing this truck, which is quite a new way of [designing] trucks, with a big window like you see in modern kitchens today,” di Savoia says. “It’s important, I think, to see people cook what they cook.”

IMG_5097From the window, customers can see chefs making fresh pasta from a machine.

“Quite easily, with eggs, flour and water, you can do all kinds of different pastas,” says di Savoia.

The culture of eating in Italy is steeped in tradition, and it’s almost always done sitting at a table. Di Savoia is happy to eschew the norms of his heritage and make food for people on the go.

“I love this [fast] way of eating. I think today, we are in a world that moves very fast, and people don’t have time to eat in a restaurant,” he says. “For this, I’m more American than Italian.”

IMG_5042Still, di Savoia plans to slow the pace, if only a few times a week.

“At night, I want to find one or two parking lots where I can have some big tables. Everyone can come, eat. They can bring their own bottle of wine. It’s a new way of looking at dinner – something convivial, something nice.”

You can track the Prince of Venice truck on di Savoia’s website.